Postmortem: How Medical Examiners Explain Suspicious Deaths by Stefan TimmermansPostmortem: How Medical Examiners Explain Suspicious Deaths by Stefan Timmermans

Postmortem: How Medical Examiners Explain Suspicious Deaths

byStefan Timmermans

Paperback | April 15, 2007

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As elected coroners were replaced by medical examiners with scientific training, the American public became fascinated with their work. From the grisly investigations showcased on highly rated television shows like CSI to the bestselling mysteries that revolve around forensic science, medical examiners have never been so visible—or compelling. They, and they alone, solve the riddle of suspicious death and the existential questions that come with it. Why did someone die? Could it have been prevented? Should someone be held accountable? What are the implications of ruling a death a suicide, a homicide, or an accident? Can medical examiners unmask the perfect crime?

Postmortem goes deep inside the world of medical examiners to uncover the intricate web of social, legal, and moral issues in which they operate. Stefan Timmermans spent years in a medical examiner’s office following cases, interviewing examiners, and watching autopsies. While he relates fascinating cases here, he is also more broadly interested in the cultural authority and responsibilities that come with being a medical examiner. How medical examiners speak to the living on behalf of the dead is Timmermans’s subject, revealed here in the day-to-day lives of the examiners themselves.

Postmortem is a wake-up call to forensic pathology. . . .This book should be viewed as provocative, rather than threatening, and should be a stimulus for important discussions and action by the forensic pathology community.”—Journal of the American Medical Association

Stefan Timmermans is professor of sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of two previous books, including Sudden Death and the Myth of CPR.
Title:Postmortem: How Medical Examiners Explain Suspicious DeathsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:April 15, 2007Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226803996

ISBN - 13:9780226803999

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
Introduction: Brokering Suspicious Deaths
1. Making the Case for Heart Disease
2. The Fifty-One Percent Rule of Suicide
3. Forensic Credibility at the "Nanny Trial"
4. The Perfect Crime
5. A Baby Died. Where Were the Parents?
6. The Organ and Tissue Trade
Conclusion: The Hope of Forensic Authority
Postscript: "How Can You Watch Autopsies?"

Editorial Reviews

"Postmortem is well written, at times memorably so. It is interesting, challenging and fresh. Those interested in death investigation will find it difficult to put down. . . . Postmortem is a landmark work in the sociology of death investigation and should be read by all who are interested in the competing methods of ascertaining how the dead can constructively speak to the living."